Watercolor lessons: The Pansy Project

I recently began taking painting lessons with San Carlos watercolor artist, Guy Magallanes. During July, we completed what Guy called “The Pansy Project.” Sounds like a clandestine operation, doesn’t it? Not quite, but we usually have so much fun during class that it could have been one.

Want to paint along? Here’s what you’ll need:

Guy usually puts step-by-step instructions for the current project on his website, but since we’ve moved on from the pansy, I’m going to have to look back at my in-progress snapshots and try to remember what we did in broad brushstrokes.

Step 1: Roughly trace the outline of a pansy on your watercolor paper.
Step 2: With Transparent Yellow, paint in the heart of the bottom petal, wet on dry.
Step 3: Working wet on wet, selectively add Permanent Rose to each petal (we were painting from a photograph, but I think we all needed Guy’s guidance on where to put in the rose, so I think you’ll be better off looking at the sample paintings for help). Remember to preserve your white highlights in the center of the flower. (Image: Top left)
Step 4: Continuing to work wet on wet, fill in the background with Thalo Blue and begin adding dimension to each petal. (Image: Top right)
Step 5: With Thalo Blue, begin adding veining to each petal. You will be working wet on dry, with very creamy paint. You start with your brush flat to the paper, then pull towards you, lifting the brush as you go, so the vein trails off. (Images: Bottom left and right)
Step 6: Add some Thalo Blue to the very center of the flower to create depth (on top of the yellow, it turns green).
Step 7: Do a full wash of Winsor Violet across the flower.
Step 8: Working wet on dry, add Transparent Yellow to the background to get green leaves and stem.
Step 9: Once dry, add Winsor Violet to darken and separate the leaves from the background.
Step 10: Working wet on dry, add Winsor Violet to smooth out and separate the petals, as desired.

Ten steps may not seem like a lot (or maybe it does when you read through the steps), but remember we did this very deliberately over four weeks. Some of us (myself included) even finished up at home after class four.

Here are the results from our class:
And, here’s a look at what the completed painting is supposed to look like (Guy-style).
Having seen my work-in-progress above, which of the completed paintings do you think is mine? From left to right, A, B, C, or D? Scroll down for your answer.
Keep going…
Almost there……………
Here’s your answer:

The answer is C.

Did you guess correctly? Let me know in the comments.


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